Guten Morgen – that’s good morning in German for those who don’t know.
This does not mean I can now speak the language fluently, or at all. Last month’s Quirky Quest was to make it a habit to practice learning a language – I chose German – for 10 minutes each day.
Previously I had only been able to record 17 days straight learning without a break.
As promised in last week’s Paint a Picture – Are You Up For It? post, I am updating you on my latest attempt at learning a language.
THE LANGUAGE OF LEARNING – ARE YOU BEING SMART?
The challenge I had set myself was to not miss a day of spending at least 10 minutes practising. The truth is this month I made only three days straight – worse result ever except, I re-learned two vital life lessons as a result of this quest.
First let me tell you the app I was using for this quest, Duolingo, had updated and changed so that you would require longer to finish each exercise, with each wrong answer you made.
As I had forgotten more than I had learned when starting this challenge my 10 minutes a day exercise turned into 40 – 50 minutes.
Also, I had reason to believe I might even need to use this language in the near future and once I realised this wasn’t so, my passion for this task diminished. That brings me to the first of the important lessons I re-learned (I knew these things, but needed a gentle reminder) from this.
RIGHT MOTIVATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
I tried to persevere with my plan if only to be able to report success to my readers. I became irritable and stressed when the time was running out to begin a lesson each day – so much for doing it in the morning with my coffee, as planned.
I was truly devastated the first day I missed completely – it was a really hectic day and I kept postponing and then simply forgot.
I was down on myself for the failure but still determined to try again. I forgot again.
The next day I remembered, but my heart wasn’t in it.
Eventually, I admitted defeat and realised I was just too short on time to pursue something I no longer had an interest in.
That was lesson number one. Know what you really want because if you go after something you are only lukewarm about, chances are you will fail.
In her book Goal Achievement Simplified, Vatsala Shukla talks about setting S.M.A.R.T goals that take into account your needs, capabilities and strengths.
She says the one factor that creates a difference to your success is motivation. Without motivation you “lose even before the race to goal achievement starts”.
FAILURES CAN BE YOUR FRIENDS
Once I got over my frustration at myself and lack of time to do everything, I stood back and looked at the situation to see what I could take away from it – mostly so I could write this update if I’m to be completely honest.
When I looked at it objectively I saw that I had compromised from my original idea – mainly for the sake of filling space and ironically, saving time.
Let me explain. When I first started taking an interest in blogging as something I might do to get into a writing routine, I came across a blog I still love – Magical Daydream (who could lose with a name like that?).
Marielle is all about living life in “an extraordinary way”.
She has ‘magical missions’ which are all about helping people to find joy, such as making 1000 paper cranes and handing them out to 1000 random people.
She leaves secret messages in peanut shells for people to randomly discover and has a host of other fun and creative ways to reach out and spread joy.
This lovely Dutch lady also paints and teaches – she taught a group of male students a course on kindness, dreams and play.
So, armed with such inspiration I was planning on reaching out in a similar way.
I was determined to put out a regular challenge on my blog, but I couldn’t seem to come up with an idea that wasn’t going to require a lot of time (I bet it took Marielle quite some time to fold 1000 paper cranes) or money so I came up with ‘Quirky Quests’ that would go along with activities I was already pursuing.
Learning a language was on that list of activities. I know – I was cheating.
My fail regarding learning a language has been wonderful to spotlight how far away I’ve roamed from my initial plan and has served to get me back on track.
So life’s second big reminder has been that failures can work for you.
Wishing you fun challenges and a gleeful week, Tamuria.